From time to time, when able, we like to reach across the aisle to our brethren in the blogosphere and gain some insight about that week’s opponent. This week is no different, as we were approached by John from CrimsonQuarry about a Q&A exchange. As a point of information, despite the good natured fun and shots we take at IU and how we see it as a rivalry, John and his site are a great measured perspective on Hoosier athletics. Granted (and much like BSU) there are vocal groups of fans that don’t necessarily speak for the group, but John does a particularly good job from a blog perspective keeping a pretty objective and rational keel. You can read my responses to John’s questions here, and also peruse the comment section that accuses me of being a fictitious parody. Great fun and not the first time (nor last, probably) that the messageboards and blogs don’t take us seriously. Same thing happened in 2008 and 2011. Those two years worked out well.
1.) Obviously with Tre Roberson being injured that changes things a bit on the IU offensive side of the ball. What do BSU fans need to know about Cam Coffman?
John, CQ: Coffman played one year at the junior college level , at Arizona Western, and had some pretty solid recruiting interest coming out of high school. Although Rivals listed him as a “dual threat” quarterback, he definitely is a pass first QB, and was selected for this offense by offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, who is a Mike Leach protege. He certainly is talented, but I don’t have a sense of how he will respond in his first start. He played well on short notice against UMass, completing 16-22 passes, but obviously UMass isn’t very good.
2.) The BSU offense, especially the running game, seems to be hitting on all cylinders so far. Who are the keys to the IU defense that BSU fans need to be aware of?
John, CQ: Well, IU struggled to contain Indiana State’s Shakir Bell, so win or lose I am sure that the Cardinals will gain a bunch of yards on the ground. IU has experience at the DT positions, with Adam Replogle and Larry Black, Jr., and sophmore Mike Murphy has been solid over the last two seasons at safety. Sophomore Chase Hoobler, a linebacker, played quite a bit as a freshman as well. The defense is still young, and will give up some yards, but at least thus far it has been bend-but-don’t break instead of break-and-break-again.
3.) As one of the most measured and objective IU fans I know, what are your thoughts about Kevin Wilson and the future of IU football? When does the decision point come regarding the future of the program? What are realistic expectations that fans should keep in mind?
John, CQ: Given what you have said on your site about Wilson, perhaps my answer will have you doubting my objectivity. I liked the Wilson hire when IU made it, and I’m still in his corner. Wilson has an excellent background, coming out of the Cradle of Coaches at Miami, helping Randy Walker win a Big Ten title at Northwestern, of all places, and then spending the better part of a decade as the OC for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. Obviously, the one piece missing from his resume was head coaching experience, and I think that showed last year. But he’s a smart guy, a great football mind, and has assembled a strong staff, so I do think the program is in good hands. For this season, I expect to see progress but recognize that it may not be accompanied by a major uptick in wins. Next year, I’ll expect to see more wins. As for “the decision point,” I don’t think it’s anywhere close. I think it would take a complete lack of progress for Wilson to get any less than the customary five years, absent a change in the leadership of the athletic department, which I don’t anticipate.
4.) Perhaps least important to the outcome but most important to my morbid curiosity is the IU fan support. Talk a little about the support from the general IU fanbase and what you expect on Saturday night. What would you like to see changed or addressed concerning IU fan participation and buy in?
John, CQ: I think fan support has been fine. IU drew 41,000 for the Indiana State game and I expect a larger crowd considering the weather, the 8 p.m. kickoff, and the opponent (Ball State will bring some fans and IU fans realize this is an important game). Fred Glass has done a great job marketing the program to students and families, and it has paid off so far. I think the program is in a good position, but in the long term, success is going to determine fan support.
5.) Prediction not only for the final score but flow of the game?
John, CQ: I anticipate a high scoring game. Both offenses have looked pretty good, and both defenses pretty suspect. I don’t think it will be easy, but I do think IU will prevail in a back-and-forth affair by something like 42-35.
Big thanks to John for putting this together. If you’re looking for IU information and/or commentary, CrimsonQuarry is a good place to start and really the only place you’ll need to go. Feel free to register for an account there and inform that this site and its leadership are actually real people.